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Taiwan claims 10 Chinese war planes crossed Taiwan Strait median line

Taiwan’s air force scrambled into action after spotting 10 Chinese war planes crossing the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The island’s defence ministry also said four Chinese war ships carried out combat patrols on Sunday.

This is the second time in less than a week that Taiwan has reported renewed Chinese military activity, after 37 Chinese military aircraft on Thursday flew into the island’s air defence zone, some of which then flew into the western Pacific.

China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has over the past three years regularly flown its air force into the skies near the island, though not into Taiwan’s territorial air space.

In a short statement, Taiwan’s defence ministry said that as of 2pm local time on Sunday it had detected 24 Chinese air force planes, including J-10, J-11, J-16 and Su-30 fighters, as well as H-6 bombers.

It did not say exactly where those aircraft flew, but did say 10 had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait which separates the two sides and had previously served as an unofficial barrier, though China says it does not recognise that and has been routinely crossing it since last year.

Four Chinese naval ships were also engaged in “joint combat readiness patrols”, the ministry added, without giving details.

Taiwan sent up its own fighters and deployed ships and land-based missile systems to keep watch, it said, using typical wording for how it responds to such Chinese activities.

There was no immediate response from China’s military.

In April, China held war games around Taiwan following a trip to the United States by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

In a video address to supporters on the Taiwan-controlled Matsu islands, which sit next to the Chinese coast, Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai said he would do his best to “stabilise the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait” if he wins the presidency, his campaign office said.

Lai is running as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate. Tsai cannot run again due to term limits.

Tsai has repeatedly offered talks with China but been rebuffed as Beijing views her and her party as separatists.

-Reuters

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